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September 2010 - Western Italy and Italian Islands

September 29, 2010

We had a great sail to Isola Capraia with Alchemy. We were able to get into the very small marina. We had fun hiking this old prison colony. We said our good-byes to Dick and Ginger as they were heading toward Barcelona and we were heading to Le Grazie, Italy to explore for a couple of weeks.

Tyrrhenian Sea | Italy | Elba island| Portoferraio | Artemis at town quay

September 27, 2010

Hi everyone, We motored up to Portoferraio, Elba on Thurs. Sept 23. It was a lovely day and it was fun to view the sites we had seen by car now by sea. Portoferraio is a large protected bay so we enjoyed our nights at anchor. We took the dingy into town on Friday and checked out the town quay. It was on and off rain all day but we walked the old town and castle wall between down pours. We visited Napoleon's Villa dei Mulini. While he was exiled on Elba this was his main residence. It was a large and luxurious home (almost a palace). It is quite doubtful that Napoleon experienced any severe hardship in these surroundings. He had another residence about 5km away through a lovely wooded valley that he frequented in San Martino. The exhibit in the villa is about Napoleon's niece Charlotte Bonaparte and is on tour. It was in Rome and it'll leave here for the National Museum of the Chateaux de Maimaison and Bois-Preau in France on Oct.1st. We had a nice lunch ashore and then wandered some more.

Tyrrhenian Sea | Italy | Elba island| Portoferraio |

Sat. Sept. 25 In the morning we moved Artemis and Alchemy into Portoferrraio town quay. What a beautiful setting. The Old Castle wall (Medici Fortifications)was renovated to hold store/restaurant fronts at quay level and then three to four tiers of apartments built up from the wall. The outer walls have been painted muted pastel colors and make a lovely backdrop for the harbor. The streets wind through the old portals of the wall. Behind the walls are the Medici Fortress, Villa dei Mulini, several museums, and churches including a Duomo (Cathedral)many 3-4 story apartments, restaurants, cafes etc.

When we returned from our walk Alchemy told us the Coast Guard men wanted to see us in their office with our "Costituto". Long story short we didn't have one. The number of times in and out of Italy we had to search and beg to get this Travel Log (only for non EU cruisers) then no one ever asks for it. So when we got back from US the office was closed as usual (always for some reason in Italy) and we wanted to leave. So we said Skip it. Well this guy was by the book and we ended up having to pay 173 euro ($230).

We went to mass at the Duomo yesterday. We met some Americans aboard a chartered Nord Haven with Minnesota connections. One was born in Fairbault and another had a summer home on Pelican Lake (Detroit Lakes). We were invited aboard for cocktails. They had a 6 month old grandson aboard so I got a little Grandma fix. It's sometimes quite frustrating to see the girls on skype and not be able to reach out and hold them.

After cocktails we had a fantastic meal at La Libertaria along the quay front. It was a Lonely Planet "our pick" and it would definitely be "Our Pick" also. We ordered the highly recommended tunno in crosta di pistacchi (tuna fillet with pistachio crust)It was "cooked to perfection" and ample proportions. We may have to stop again in Elba on our way back to Nettuno just so we can have a second helping:-) Depending on the weather we plan to move to the anchorage again today and then do a hike to the other Napoleaon villa in San Martino either today or tomorrow. Hope all is well and everyone has a good week. Love and God Bless. Sally and Al

Tyrrhenian Sea | Italy | Elba island|

Tyrrhenian Sea | Italy | Elba island| Portoferraio |

September 22, 2010

Hi everyone, We are still anchored in a nice bay off Porto Azzuro on Isola Elba, with our American friends Ginger and Dick on "Alchemy". We've had some nice quiet days at anchorage. Monday, Sept. 20, we rented a car with Alchemy and toured the island. Elba is much bigger and more beautiful than we had expected. Some of the roads reminded us of Greece with the sheer drop offs but Italy puts up guard rails and the edges are not crumbling:-) The views are spectacular and the little mountain villages delightful. We drove first to Portoferraio the capital of the island dating from the time of the Roman Empire. We didn't spend any time there as we plan to move the boats to that harbor tomorrow for the weekend. After picking up some tourist information and a rather bad map of the island we moved on.

Our first village visit was Proccio for mid morning coffee break. Then we began our drive of the real pretty end of the island. The town of Marciana Marina is colorful both in housing and flowers. Lots of chest nut trees, palms, magnolia and oleanders. Behind the harbor is the highest peak of Elba Monte Cappane that can be reached by a small aerial railway carrying small rather precarious cages from the town of Marciana. We chose to forego this pleasure but we did visit the village of Marciana. First we stopped for lunch in another lovely village Poggio. It was fun to wander the terraced village, the winding streets, so picturesque, cute little village. From there we visited Marciana featuring a small fortress and more winding streets .

Leaving Marciana we drove along the coastal road with cliffs overlooking small coves for about 20km. We had great views of Corsica and Isola Capriana to the north and as we moved south of Isola Pianosa and Isola Montecristo. We stopped in the town of Campo nell'Elba (Marina di Campo) another lovely town for ice cream. The island has many lovely beaches with crystal clear water but we weren't looking for those today. The car needed to be returned by 7PM so we decided to head to the mining area of Elba near Rio. We were hoping to visit a mine but ran out of time. Rio from a distance looked like another great little mountain village to explore. September 21, 2010

Tues. Sept. 21 Alchemy played/worked with our SeaBreathe to clean his prop and hull. I did 3 loads of laundry! It's great having clean clothes and sheets. In the afternoon we visited La Piccola Miniera Museo Minerario Etrusco It was a reconstruction of an Elba mine with a short underground tour by mine train. Great exhibit of minerals mined on Elba. We had Alchemy over for dinner and grilled some fantastic pork chops. It's always so wonderful when the weather/wind cooperates and we can grill.

Tyrrhenian Sea | Italy | Elba island|

Today we caught a bus to Capoliveri. We walked around town, had some great views looking back toward Porto Azzurro and Portiferraio on one side of town and toward Marina di Campo on the other side. Again we enjoyed exploring the narrow stairways and winding streets through town. Found a neat little place to have lunch before catching the bus back to Porto Azzuro. Tomorrow we plan to move the boats to the north end of the island to Portoferraio. We're expecting some rain over the weekend so plan to take a berth on Friday and Saturday to make exploring the town easier. Hope all is well. Love and God Bless Sally and Al

September 19, 2010

Hi everyone, A year ago today we were in Chicago celebrating Chris and Justin's wedding. We had a nice visit on Ponza, Italy the largest of the small Pontine Islands between Naples and Rome. Ponza was a cute town. But it's major draw for tourists is the sandy beaches and magnificent rock formations. We had a nice anchorage off town and enjoyed hiking around and getting a few supplies. Unfortunately another boat came in, anchored close but couldn't get his anchor up to move. He'd hooked a rock. So he let out a little chain and turned off his engine. When Al commented that he was a bit close he shrugged his shoulders. So when we kept swinging uncomfortably close we hauled up some of our anchor and within minutes the other boat swung directly behind us about 15 ft. It was a good thing Al had pulled up anchor. Unbothered by the situation they hopped in their dingy and went ashore.

We left early in the morning to another anchorage for coffee as they were try to take up their anchor and it was too close for comfort. Around 9 we pulled anchored and head out for an overnight passage 170nm to Isola Elba. The forecast was light SSW building to 12-15kts, winds which should have been a comfortable passage. Unfortunately after the first 30miles we picked up a NW swell and our slight southerly winds didn't help the boat deal with the rocking and rolling. The NW winds continued well into the night. It wasn't until after midnight before the SW seas took over. It still was a rolly passage as the winds didn't really pick up until early morning. We were about 26nm from our Elba destination when we contacted our friends from Alchemy who were already anchored there. We decided to head for Porto Azzuro only 10nm away. We dropped anchor 26 hours after departing Ponza and took a much needed nap. Dick and Ginger came for an afternoon visit and then invited us aboard Alchemy for dinner. The anchorage is open to east but the south winds rolled into the bay. It was a bit rolly but as tired as we were we slept.

Yesterday the winds moved more SSE so considerable seas came a calling...Dick and Ginger came by and we escaped to the town for a visit. It was a rainy day also so we wandered between raindrops and enjoyed checking out the town of Azzuro. We stopped for lunch and then after checking on our bouncing rolling boats we decided to walk the trail up to Longone the 16th century Spanish built citadel that was turned into a prison for harden criminals, political and mafioso type. Great view, wonderful trails...we walked to a pretty beach and then looped around the citadel back into town. Well we had successfully walked away the afternoon to "beer thirty" so stopped for beer/wine giving Artemis and Alchemy a chance to settled down in the anchorage.

The winds had changed more westerly but the swell continued to roll the boats until early this morning. Now with stronger NW winds we are sitting comfortably and looking forward to a nice Sunday. The last of the clouds a e moving through this morning and we're expecting some nice weather for the next week. Elba has great hiking trails and Dick and Ginger love to hike so we're looking forward to some great hikes. We're also planning to rent a car one day to get an overview of the island. Another must do before we leave here is LAUNDRY! We found not one but two "do it yourself" laundramats in town.(10E wash/dry)Hope everyone has a great Sunday. Love and God Bless Sally and Al

September 14, 2010

Hi everyone We stayed at Isola Ischia for two more days after I last wrote. The weather forecast wasn't good for the anchorages at Procida. So we stayed on at the Castle anchorages moving from the north side to the south side depending on the wind direction. "Jack Tar" an Australian boat we met in Brindisi came into the anchorage on Saturday and we were invited onboard for cocktails. So after a day of tramping around Ischia town and a nap we gusied ourselves up and dingied over. It was fun to visit and share cruising experiences. Sunday we went to mass and again just wandered around the area. It was just nice to have some down time and not be heading off somewhere.

Tyrrhenian Sea | Italy | Pontine Islands | Ventotene Island | Santo Stefano - prison island

Tyrrhenian Sea | Italy | Pontine Islands | Ventotene Island | Porto Veccio

Tyrrhenian Sea | Italy | Pontine Islands | Ventotene Island | Porto Veccio

Monday we motor/sailed to Ventotene Island (part of the Pontine Islands). We anchored outside the harbor but later in the afternoon we decided to move inside Porto Veccio (the old Roman galley port. The port was excavated from the native tufa and the galley sheds were dug into the rock behind. We woke from our nap to discover that 11 of the yachts in the harbor were a charter floatilla from . Three had their own boats from the States. Aphrodite was moored next to us and her Captain and crew were from Seattle. We were invited to the floatilla's "Docktail Party" and then went out with two of the couples for dinner. The NY Yacht Club's actual facilities are in the old Brown Mansion in Newport.

Tyrrhenian Sea | Italy | Pontine Islands | Ponza Island

Tyrrhenian Sea | Italy | Pontine Islands | Ponza Island | Artemis at anchor

Tyrrhenian Sea | Italy | Pontine Islands |Ponza Island

Storms came through over night and the NE wind that kicked up afterwards sent a surge into the harbor rocking all the boats. The ones on the inside fared the best as the other boats broke up the movement before it reached them. Aphrodite is a Swan 46 so we lined up pretty well but the yacht on out portside is a Benateau 47 with a very high free board and tiny fenders. So we had 8 of our 11 fenders on that side and we just rocked and banged all morning. The floatilla has a dinner party in Ponza tonight so finally about 1500 4 of the boats took off and made the 90 degree turn exiting into the conver ging seas entering the harbor. The joker boat helped each boat exit and all went well. Now they'll just rock and roll the 23 miles to Ponza. Didn't sound like fun to us so we're staying another night. After Ponza we're planning an overnight to Cala Galeria and then another 56nm to Elba where we hope to meet up with "Alchemy", friends from Kemer, early next week. Love and God Bless Sally and Al

Tyrrhenian Sea | Italy | Salerno

Tyrrhenian Sea | Italy | Salerno

Tyrrhenian Sea | Italy | Salerno| Duomo San Matteo

Tyrrhenian Sea | Italy | Salerno | Salerno harbor

Tyrrhenian Sea | Italy | Salerno

September 10, 2010

Hi everyone Salerno, Italy was a pleasant surprise. Lonely Planet did not do the town justice. The Old Medieval town is lovely with amazing architecture. The doors, stone cornices and the lentils are very ornate. Being a Medieval city the streets are cobble, narrow and wind between buildings with stone bridges between the buildings. Every block or so either a narrow path would pass between the buildings or a wider cobbled road. Way cool... The Duomo of San Matteo (Cathedral of St. Matthew) was spectacular. It was consecrated in 1084 and was truly the highlight of Salerno. The Crypt has many beautiful Bible story paintings on the ceiling with the main tomb being the holy relics of the Apostle Matthew. We visited the Gardens of Minerva in the center of old town. This is a walled in terraced orchard and garden of many levels. The irrigation system is a series of pools and fountains maintained by rich springs. The gardens were used by the Medical School where students were taught the names of the plants and their healing properties (the first botanic garden in Europe cultivated purely for health remedies)We had a great lunch at Pizza Margherita found in the Lonely Planet. It's a daily lunchtime hotspot and we were not disappointed with the daily special we ordered. We also took a bus up to the Arechi Castle a medieval castle 300m above sea level.

Tyrrhenian Sea |Italy | Isola Ischia | Artemis anchored below Argonese castle

Tyrrhenian Sea |Italy | Isola Ischia | Argonese castle

We arrived on Isola Ischia (near Naples) anchored below the castle last night. What an amazing anchorage. The Argonese castle, 14th-century Cathedral and several other churches complex is on an islet off shore attached to Ischia Point by a causeway. It's been Rainy/stormy but light winds both here and in Salerno. We're expecting more rain today but then it looks like some sunny/quiet days ahead. We visited the Argonese castle complex this afternoon. Lots of pretty terraces, pathways and gardens with fabulous overlooks of the sea and surrounding area. They had an armaments collection and ugly torture equipment. We went for a pizza and then h iked an hour round trip to get gas for the dingy. We rewarded ourselves with a shared ice cream. A storm is running along the Naples coastline and we're hoping it misses us. We plan to enjoy Isola Ischia, Procidia and then head for Pontine Islands. Happy weekend. Love and God Bless Sally and Al

Tyrrhenian Sea |Italy | Isola Lipari |

September 7, 2010

Hi everyone Lipari was a neat town to visit. We enjoyed the winding streets, shops, market, citadel and churches. We had a nice passage (95nm) to Palinuro Sun-Mon night. We left around 14:15 and were able to sail until 20:30 then it was time to motor/sail. We ended up motoring through the night with gentle seas and winds. We dropped anchor in Palinuro Harbor, Italy around 8:30. The moored boat were tied in two directions so it made our job of anchoring easier. The bottom was sea grass and sand so it took two times to get it right. Al went back to sleep and I cleaned up topside from the passage. Nice anchorage but we didn't visit the town. We didn't feel ambitious enough to drop the dingy in and drive a mile to the actual town. We did replace the bow light which meant pulling Al up the mast half way and we serviced the battery connections on the 4 batteries easiest to reach. The other 4 involve emptying the V-berth. Now why didn't we think of this the other day when we added water to all the batteries:-( We showered, changed sheets (mmmm)and grilled a lovely steak. This morning we left around 6:30 for Salerno. We are in Porto Nuovo Salerno about 24nm from Capri. Hope everyone had a nice Labor Day weekend. Sorry Skype was so bad again. Happy First Day of School in Minnesota! Love and God Bless Sally and Al

Tyrrhenian Sea |Italy | Isola Lipari | Artemis in Pignataro Marina

September 4, 2010

Hi everyone We had a quiet night in Taormina anchorage Sicily on Wed. night. We got up early and left for Messina Straits about 6AM. We were through by noon. It was an uneventful passage but the winds kicked up when we passed into the Tyrrhenian Sea and we reefed jib, main and mizzen. Once we were an hour or two out of the straits it quieted down some. We sailed to Isola Lipari about 38nm from the strait of Messina. We anchored on the west side in Valle Muria very comfortable even as the rain and winds moved through. We stayed aboard all day Friday and did some odd jobs. It rained off and on all day. Then about 1:30 AM today we woke up and decided to move as the westerly seas were pounding us. We moved to Porto di Levante on the east side of Isola Vulcano. It was a bit difficult anchoring in a tight spot in the dark but by 3:00 we were all set. Unfortunately we had to anchor deep (25m)so we had out lots of chain and hearing it scape against the rocks all night was nerve racking. We left the anchorage about 10 AM and moved to Pignataro Marina on Lipari (60Euro). We wanted a quiet safe spot to leave the boat for the day so we could enjoy Lipari Town. We walked into town and visited the citadel, had a quick lunch, and then visited the Duomo and the Archelogical Museum. It's listed as one of the very best museums in Sicily by Lonely Planet and we found it quite splendid. One of the best collections of ceramics we've seen and a marvelous collection of miniature Greek theatrical masks or as Lonely Planet says "in the world". We plan to leave early afternoon and do an overnight to Capo Palinuro just north of Camerota, Italy. (98nm) Hope everyone is having a nice weekend. We have a strong signal so I plan to try Skype. Love and God Bless Sally and Al

September 1, 2010

Hi everyone We motor sailed to Roccella Ionica on Monday. It was a nice day and we traveled about 45nm. We arrived about 1300 and found our friends John and Sharon on Seraphim from Texas. They sail a Shannon 38/9. We pulled into a finger pontoon across from them for 20 E a night. We had cocktails aboard their boat with another couple. The marina has bicycles that you can borrow and only offer a maintenance fee. So yesterday we went with Seraphim into town about 3km to the Farmer's Market and then to Conad, a very well stocked grocery store. We had a great pizza at the Marina restaurant for supper. They sell it by the half meter! This morning we left Roccella Ionica about 0500 for Taormina, Sicily. It was a bit rolly but around 0700 we could put some sails to help control the roll. I decided to make dinner ahead so we could just enjoy ourselves once we were in anchorage. I had no sooner washed the last dish and the winds picked up so we could turn the engine off and sail for a couple of hours. We arrived at Taormina about 0445 and dropped anchor. We plan to leave early in the morning to go through the Straits of Messina. We have tidal streams and possible whirlpools to contend with. But we've calculated the North bound stream and hopefully we'll hit it about right and before the heavier southerly winds hit in the afternoon. We'll then go another 38nm to the NW side of Isola Vulcano in Porto di Ponente. We visited this island back in April of 2007 and rented a 4 wheeler to tour the island. So we probably won't stay long. There are storms coming in on Friday throughout Sicily so we'll stay atleast until Saturday. Love and God Bless Sally and Al

#2010 #Italy #Sicily

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